UMiami or Albright College

I’m in a little bit unusual situation, so hope somebody can help me with that. I’m transfer student from Russia and in Russian University I studied for humaties, now I transferring to American college for pre-med and BS Biology and was accepted by several and since scholarship important for me I was attracted by Albright college. I received offer from University of Miami which is great and I very excited about that university, since I think its big, good ranked university and it’s even has medical school and it’s in Miami. However, I have a question which always stay with me, when I think about high ranked university. How do you think, in my situation, when I not study for biology since high school for 3 years, will be it more difficult to study in UM than in Albright college. The thing is I’m really worry about GPA, since for MCAT I can prepare with tutors and sit only when I will be confident, but how I understand GPA can’t be change a lot.

Maybe someone from UM can share with their experience about being premed in UM and how hard is grading there!

So, maybe someone can answer in general, is it true that in small colleges like Albright with low incoming HS GPA and SAT, is easier to get >3,5 or not?

Best regards

Are you able to attend med school in the US as an international student?


International students are at substantial disadvantage when it comes to getting an admission to a US medical school. The number of non-Canadian international students who enter all US medical school combined each year is quite small. Under 50 in any given year.

In the 2020-2021 med school application cycle, only 131 international students were admitted to all US medical school combined. Approximately 75-85% of those international students are either Canadian citizens or DACA-eligible US residents.


International medical school applicants face 2 barriers:

  1. only about 40 US med school will consider internationals for admission. Of those 40, only about 15 routinely accept more than 0-1 international students each year. And at all medical schools, international applicants are placed in a separate admission pool and compete only against other internationals for a very limited number of seats.

  2. International students must demonstrate they are able to fund 100% of the cost of their US medical education before they will be allowed to enroll. This demonstration typically requires placing the 2-4 years of tuition and fees into a US escrow account. (Some schools require living expenses in addition to the tuition & fees.) This amount is usually around $250,000 to $500,000. There is little or no financial aid for international students in US medical schools. Most US students pay for their medical education by using loans offered by the US government–and international students are not eligible for these loans. Private loans for US med school require a credit-worthy US citizen cosigner.

tl;dr version–it’s a poor plan to come to the US to study with the plan of entering medical schools in the US. Very few international students are accepted to US medical schools.

Also a biology major has poor employment prospects for post-graduation employment in the US.

RE: your question

Albright will likely be a less competitive environment academically than UMiami for a pre-med. However, getting a good GPA is only 1 facet of a strong med school application. GPA, sGPA and MCAT score are only the first of many screens that med school applicants face and attending an undergrad with a strong, national academic reputation may be helpful for an international applicant. UMIami has more resources for pre-meds–stronger advising, better access to research experiences, better access to clinical volunteering opportunities.

However, you should be aware that the UMIami medical school does NOT accept international students so attending UMiami won’t assist you in getting accepted to their med school.

(BTW, the median GPA for accepted US domestic med school applicants was 3.71 last year. So planning to get a 3.5 GPA won’t get you into medical school. An international applicant’s GPA would need to be higher than a US citizen applicant. )


I will attend BS in USA, and I’m LPR, so I’m not 100% international

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Thank you for a very informative answer, I forgot to mention in post that Im gren-card holder, so I’m not international. When I said Med school I think about both DO and MD. In way of green-card holder, where you can recommend to go with my situation. Best regards

Between those two, I’d actually recommend Miami even though Albright might be easier. Miami has more opportunities and among students I know who have attended each, Albright is not always loved, Miami is. Albright is fine if you fit in, so might be for you, but hasn’t been for more kids than I would expect - and kids I knew well who should have fit in “anywhere.” They tell me the school is small and cliquish. If you’re not in the clique finding friends is very difficult.

Wherever you go, you’ll want to be putting in the work to ensure you’re among the top. That’s on you. If you’re worried about your recent Bio background (or any subject), spend time now on the internet looking over Bio resources shoring up your foundation or filling in gaps. Consider it preparation for med school. :wink:


The quality of student is quite different when comparing the two schools.

The quality of life will be more exciting in Miami, Florida than in Reading, Pennsylvania.

One is a small school with less than 1,900 students located in a somewhat depressed area, while the other has well over 10,000 students and is located in an international playground.

Easier to pack for Miami.

Have you considered PA (physician’s assistant) programs ? If so, other posters may be able to offer insights & information regarding these medical programs.

P.S. Almost one-third (33%) of residents in Reading, Pennsylvania live below the poverty line. Also, Reading has a shockingly low (well less than 10%) percentage of residents who have earned a college degree.


Having a green card makes a huge difference in med school admission. LPRs are treated the same US citizens in admissions.

UMiami is the stronger school and you will have better opportunities for the expected pre-med ECs.

If finances aren’t a major consideration, I’d suggest you choose Miami over Albright.

Admission to DO school is just as competitive as admission to MD school. Although the typical GPA and MCAT are slightly lower than for MD programs, DO schools actually get more applicants per available seat than do MD schools and have correspondingly lower admission rates.

I strongly recommend keeping an open mind about other healthcare-related careers.
Here’s a website to help you learn about other healthcare careers:

And whichever school you pick, I suggest you do as @Creekland suggests–take this time before you begin classes in the fall to refresh your knowledge of mathematics and your basic sciences. There are lots of free resources available. (YouTube has lots of helpful videos.)

Good luck!


Hello! I currently read Campbell biology. I understand that UM in all ways better than Albright, but is getting good GPA in Miami will be more difficult than in Albright? If yes, is it huge difference or no? I asked because in Russia I studied in one of the top Russian U, and while I got A for French, a lot of people got C and I have some friends which stayed in my native small city and they got A for French with level, which worse than my classmates which got C here.
Best regards

We don’t know you, don’t know your level of preparation or how strong of a student you are. So it’s really impossible to say if you’ll be among the top 10-15% of students who will be getting As in key pre-med classes.

But how it’s in general in America?

The competitiveness of a particular class can vary a great deal from university to university. The competitiveness of a particular class can also vary a great deal from instructor to instructor at the same university, or from year to year at the same university.

There’s really no way to make broad generalizations.

Miami will likely have more academically strong students than Albright, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the grading at Albright will be ‘easier’, or that you will automatically get a higher GPA there.


If you got into a top (Moscow? St petersburg?m university in Russia, you got top grades in grades 5-10 through lots of efficient studying, correct?

Are those your most affordable choices?
Other choices?

I, too, am recommending Miami, but first, checking… Miami University or university of Miami? In Florida or in Ohio?

Yes, to study in the Russian top and get an A, I need to work hard, while it is much easier to get an A in a small city like Voronezh, and sometimes the question is not even to study less, but that it is easier to get grades there.
Unfortunately, other universities have not offered such large schoolships.

Yes, the UM (Florida) according to US NEWS, they are ranked 49th this year. It just turns out a strange situation (in my Russian understanding) that one university is almost very good(if you do not consider the Ivy League), and the second college located in small city and not top.

you’ll be fine at UM, then.
It’s a shock for American students when they get to college, because in HS there are a LOT of supports: they do homework and it counts in their semester grade, they have short tests, quizzes, exams, some of which they can retake for a higher grade, they may have long research papers or take-home exams, they can get “extra credit” (ie., extra work to get more points), teachers stay in their classroom to help students… It’s not easy, it’s a lot of work, but if you work assiduously and use everything at your disposal, there’s no reason for you to get a C or D. Everything is set up to get you to success - not to get you to fail and see if you survive, the way you might have experienced Upper Secondary School.
Then they get to college and they have to go to office hours to get help, they have to go to tutoring services, so they have to show initiative and resourcefulness (most do, but not all); there’s no extra credit, homework doesn’t necessarily count (depending on subjects and what is calleed “homework”); the professors come and teach then leave - they don’t hang out in the classroom to help, they expect students to be prepared, no goofing around. There’s no “weight” (where you get +.5 to your grade as counted in the GPA because the class is harder than basic college prep classes, or +1 if it’s advanced). Your grade is your grade, so straight A’s are very very rare. So, it can be a shock.
The material is hard and there’s a lot of work to do. It has to be mastered - you need 95% correct for an A so you can’t afford to guess or be halfway there. But if you did well in secondary school, if you did well at the Russian top university, then you should know how to study, how to discipline yourself, what it means to “master” the material. You’ll have access to academic support services and office hours in case a point seems a bit fragile – you should have enough awareness to know you need help and enough strength to go ask for it.
You’ll be okay, even when faced with more competitive students.

NOW, you need to study biology, chemistry, and math. Go to Khan Academy and go back to basics. If you move through the basic Biology and Chemistry courses quickly, all the better - but make sure you’re rock-solid on the basic courses, even if you studied these basics when you were 14. You can’t afford to be fuzzy on those. Then progress through the AP levels in biology, chemistry, and calculus.

I don’t think the greatest difficulty for you would be academics, but rather the lifestyle. UM has a lot of wealthy students, lots of conspicuous consumption, a lot of partying, lots of “good looking/tan” teenagers who value looks (Miami!) or “work hard/play hard”, which in the US means to study to get good grades during the week, then party a lot and get very drunk on weekends.
It can be difficult unless you’re already wealthy yourself and/or have a good “beach bod”.
Obviously UM will have lots of strong students, lots of premeds, lots of students who want to succeed, lots of difficult classes where you need to study hard and smart.
But based on everything I know, the % of “good looking/wealthy” kids who are into “work hard/play hard” is higher than what the USNWR ranking would let you think.